Question about String Tensions

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
Flapjack
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Question about String Tensions

Post by Flapjack » Fri Feb 10, 2017 6:07 pm

This is my second attempt to post...hope it works.

I have noticed that indicated string tension information is often unclear and inconsistent. For example, Savaraz Hard Tension Cristal strings are listed at two different tensions on the Savarez site, more tension for the 500CJ set and less for the 510Cj set. This makes no sense since both sets contain the high tension Cristal trebles.

I have also noticed that Strings by Mail has the 500CJ set listed with the lower tensions, like the 510CJ set on the Savarez site.

Then, there is the issue of D'addario using a 648mm scale for their tension ratings, and other makers often not indicating a scale.

Is there any way to make sense of this besides doing one's own pull/tension tests? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

pksmith11
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Re: Question about String Tensions

Post by pksmith11 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:53 pm

I've found that it's a little less maddening to go off of diameter rather than calculated tension. I've found that tension is pretty similar between the same diameter of nylon from different brands, with carbon obviously having a much higher tension/diameter ratio. You can use one manufacturer's tension calculations as your baseline and then compare diameters to other sets.

The d'addario string tension calculator site is a good place to get some baseline data on the tensions of various diameters.

For example, I know I like d'addario extra hard tension basses, so if i try a different brand I look for a d string at .030, a at .036, and e at .045. And I don't like an overly tense or thick 1st string so I go for something that's around .028

Hope this helps. I found trying to navigate different companies published tensions to be maddening. It all comes down to feel at the end of the day. I usually push down on the strings when they're on my guitar to see how the tensions compare, because I prefer for my tensions to be as evenly balanced as possible.

Flapjack
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Re: Question about String Tensions

Post by Flapjack » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:50 pm

Thanks so much for the information! It is helpful.

Flapjack
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Re: Question about String Tensions

Post by Flapjack » Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:46 am

pksmith11 wrote:I've found that it's a little less maddening to go off of diameter rather than calculated tension. I've found that tension is pretty similar between the same diameter of nylon from different brands, with carbon obviously having a much higher tension/diameter ratio. You can use one manufacturer's tension calculations as your baseline and then compare diameters to other sets.

The d'addario string tension calculator site is a good place to get some baseline data on the tensions of various diameters.

For example, I know I like d'addario extra hard tension basses, so if i try a different brand I look for a d string at .030, a at .036, and e at .045. And I don't like an overly tense or thick 1st string so I go for something that's around .028

Hope this helps. I found trying to navigate different companies published tensions to be maddening. It all comes down to feel at the end of the day. I usually push down on the strings when they're on my guitar to see how the tensions compare, because I prefer for my tensions to be as evenly balanced as possible.
I just went and checked the diameter of the HT Cristal Trebles in different sets on the Savarez site. The 500CJ set (Corum basses) has the same diameter Cristal trebles as the 510CJ (Cantiga basses) set, but the tensions are different. Trying to make sense of Savarez's' published tensions seems to be an exercise in futility, and they have not responded to my questions (asked weeks ago) about the confusion on their website.

es335
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Re: Question about String Tensions

Post by es335 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:59 pm

To combine the same treble set with different bass set is applied quite frequently. Augustin is a prominent example. Pyramid another one which comes to my mind. Others do it partially, which means only some sets of the tension range share the same trebeles. D'Addario is the exception form the rule, at least for their Nylon string.

It might be difficult to understand, that's quite reasonable as one treble set actually feels and sounds different depending on the bass set they are paired with.

Published tension lists are unfortunatelly not free from faults, why it makes sense to refer to the diameter in case of doubt. SBM provide excellent service in this aspect as they keep their diameter/tension charts updated and provide even own measurement data, where suppliers are reluctant to disclose these figures.

BTW the Savarez set 500 CJ has Corum basses and 510 CJ Cantiga basses, why it's reasonable that the total tension is different.

Flapjack
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Re: Question about String Tensions

Post by Flapjack » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:15 pm

es335 wrote: BTW the Savarez set 500 CJ has Corum basses and 510 CJ Cantiga basses, why it's reasonable that the total tension is different.
I understand that the sets will have different total tensions due to the different basses. My point is that the same treble strings (both Cristal, both high tension, both identical in diameter measurements) are indicated as having different tensions in the different sets. I am not referring to the overall tension of the sets, but Savarez's tension ratings for each of the high tension Cristal treble strings in each of these sets.

es335
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Re: Question about String Tensions

Post by es335 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:18 pm

Flapjack wrote: I understand that the sets will have different total tensions due to the different basses. My point is that the same treble strings (both Cristal, both high tension, both identical in diameter measurements) are indicated as having different tensions in the different sets. I am not referring to the overall tension of the sets, but Savarez's tension ratings for each of the high tension Cristal treble strings in each of these sets.
That's simply an error. Just go for the diameters! :wink:

Flapjack
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Re: Question about String Tensions

Post by Flapjack » Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:21 pm

es335 wrote:
Flapjack wrote: I understand that the sets will have different total tensions due to the different basses. My point is that the same treble strings (both Cristal, both high tension, both identical in diameter measurements) are indicated as having different tensions in the different sets. I am not referring to the overall tension of the sets, but Savarez's tension ratings for each of the high tension Cristal treble strings in each of these sets.
That's simply an error. Just go for the diameters! :wink:
Good advice, though I am curious what the tension really is on those strings. Have to let it go...

es335
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Re: Question about String Tensions

Post by es335 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:40 am

Flapjack wrote:... Good advice, though I am curious what the tension really is on those strings. Have to let it go...
You will not even know with error free tension charts! Why? Very simple, there is no established test standard which guaraties comparability of these figures. The least difference can be the scale length the refer to and some even calculate rather than measure their published tensions!

Opposed to this, the diameter measurement of longitudinal extended fibres is standardized. So if you are so much focused on tension figures, use these diameters with Arto's string calculator for instance. Though this ignores the density variances between brands, it gives you a general perception of the tension variation within a set and at least the relative differnce between brands. :wink:

Flapjack
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Re: Question about String Tensions

Post by Flapjack » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:50 pm

es335 wrote:
Flapjack wrote:... Good advice, though I am curious what the tension really is on those strings. Have to let it go...
You will not even know with error free tension charts! Why? Very simple, there is no established test standard which guaraties comparability of these figures. The least difference can be the scale length the refer to and some even calculate rather than measure their published tensions!

Opposed to this, the diameter measurement of longitudinal extended fibres is standardized. So if you are so much focused on tension figures, use these diameters with Arto's string calculator for instance. Though this ignores the density variances between brands, it gives you a general perception of the tension variation within a set and at least the relative differnce between brands. :wink:
I agree with all that you have said here. Makes perfect sense. Thanks!

souldier
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Re: Question about String Tensions

Post by souldier » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:38 pm

It is truly an unsolvable puzzle and the only way to really be sure is to have a gadget of some sort that would allow you to calculate string tensions yourself.

Your best bet will simply be to use the online data as a general guide. In the end, what is more important is how does the string feel and how does your particular guitar respond to them. This is something that can only be determined by trial and error. In the end it shouldn't really matter what the exact numbers are since most guitars today can handle even high tension strings without issue.

I've experienced putting the exact same string set on multiple guitars, and finding that on some guitars they felt overly tight, and on others they felt overly loose! On some guitars they sounded great, and on others they sounded choked.
"Success grants its rewards to a few, but is the dream of the multitudes.
Excellence is available to all, but is accepted only by a few." - Christopher Parkening

plectR1st
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Re: Question about String Tensions

Post by plectR1st » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:13 pm

I am interested to know the difference in the playing qualities of different different tension strings on the same guitar. Currently I fit D'addario Pro-Arte EJ45 Normal tension strings. What would be the expected changes to tone, volume, sustain, action and general playability and ease of playing if the strings are changed to EJ46 Hard tension strings?

Thoughts of more experienced members than me would be welcome please.
Manuel Raimundo Concert 148, 1995

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joachim33
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Re: Question about String Tensions

Post by joachim33 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:52 pm

I am wondering whether Savarez changed the specification at some point. Here is an image of the back of a 540cr pack: http://www.e - b a y.co.uk/itm/Savarez-540CR ... 1353685892 and here is another one: https://images5.static-*** Commercial link removed ***.de/pics/ ... 41_800.jpg. The former is in line with the website for 540cr, the later treble tensions are in line with the 510cr data on the Savarez website.

Anyone an idea which is old, which is new?

astro64
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Re: Question about String Tensions

Post by astro64 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:01 pm

plectR1st wrote:I am interested to know the difference in the playing qualities of different different tension strings on the same guitar. Currently I fit D'addario Pro-Arte EJ45 Normal tension strings. What would be the expected changes to tone, volume, sustain, action and general playability and ease of playing if the strings are changed to EJ46 Hard tension strings?

Thoughts of more experienced members than me would be welcome please.
The main difference will be that the sound may be a bit fuller, rounder. Sustain might not be all that different. Vibrato a little harder, color difference as you move from sound hole to bridge a bit smaller. The strings will feel a bit more tight, but it is not a huge difference for the left hand, since the strings are also thicker and the finger tips may not feel the higher tension. You likely will be able to tell in pieces that need a lot of barres. The differences are pretty subtle. The variation in shape and roughness of your nails from day to day may make a bigger difference in the sound....

plectR1st
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Re: Question about String Tensions

Post by plectR1st » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:05 am

Thank you" astro64" for your helpful comments on this subject - I'll give hard tension a try on one of my guitars.
Manuel Raimundo Concert 148, 1995

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